i spent most of the year dismantling the narratives i'd written. i've always been good at letting go, but i didn't account for how much time i would spend missing things which could've been and things which never were, or trying to figure out which things were real and which were constructs that i'd written to life as if i could write them into being true. it's trendy right now to declare that you're free of narrativization and its traps, but the only way i know how to make sense of anything at all is to write about it until it coalesces into clarity. now i'm finally ready to talk about all the things i stopped loving this year, and how it feels like something worth celebrating.
the startup fever dream. i still love startups and strange futures, but i've given up the idea that if you wanted something to work badly enough then you could engineer shattered things back together; that if you loved something enough then it was fixable. i learn everything meaningful past midnight, which means that i've always taken it as a fact of the universe that if you stayed up all night and gave it everything you had for all the time you had then the result would have to be something you were proud of—so i stayed up all night coding and writing out solutions on the whiteboard in the empty office convinced that i could fix everything; i documented every good thing as it happened in real time so the dream would persist outside of my own head. but it didn't stop any of the bad things i predicted would happen from happening. now i know better than to pin all of my hopes on something which isn't provable with my own two hands.
the heroes i held. at some point i was still new to all of this; unjaded and inspired. then i spent too much time on Twitter watching my heroes fight each other on the internet over the most inconsequential things and now i'm disillusioned, but at least i have perfect clarity on who's doing work and who isn't. it's clarity like i always wanted, i guess.
the search for absolution. this tweet has lived rent-free in my head for an absurd amount of the year. i was wide-eyed and wanting to do good, as they say. i tried to be a shapeshifter and wasn't very good at taking either side; couldn't commit fully to effective altruism or anti-effective-altruism and instead find myself belonging nowhere, trying to bridge both sides through my work in the most pragmatic way that i can. i think it'd be nice to belong but i can't stand the tribalism that either side requires of me. luckily, i'm good at existing in in-between spaces; i've been doing it my whole life.
some version of san francisco i loved. before i was really in tech, i visited this place and fell in love with it, and told myself that i would regret it for the rest of my life if i didn't spend at least a little bit of time living here in this city which captivated me. well, this summer i finally moved here and had to rewrite my entire understanding of everything i loved about this place. it's my fault; i loved San Francisco for reasons which had nothing to do with technological ambition at all. but the technology is inescapable now and if you're going to build tech then i guess you may as well build it beside oceans and mountains and the desert. i'm still trying to figure out how to exist in this place and how to love it for what it is instead of the version of the city in my head.
everything this song represented. i should probably go to therapy, but instead i listen to SoCal-originated tropical house and hope that i can simply drown out every wrong thing. this time three years ago i was coming home to Toronto from New York City, listening to Gryffin and Maia Wright on repeat because the song was the epitome of electropop effervescence and so was i; pinning all my hopes on a yet-to-be-written future, letting myself be caught up in irrational optimism because that's the kind of thing you need if you're going to commit to building a startup. that song became an anthem i would play it out loud to block out every single bit of doubt for the next two-and-a-half years. eventually the doubts crept in anyway; eventually they became so loud i could no longer drown them out. but this year, the same two artists released something new together, a spiritual successor to the song from three years ago, and it is every single bit as ethereally, nonsensically optimistic. these days i have it on repeat to convince myself that i, too, can be made new.